Sunday, February 12, 2012

Blog Post #3

Technology in Special Education Response
This video was created by a special education teacher to demonstrate the importance of technology in the life of her students.  She uses examples of nonverbal children using computers in order to communicate effectively.  Even students who have trouble with seeing or reading are using advanced technology like Zoomtext to complete their assignments. By demonstrating some of the ways her student's lives are drastically enhanced by technology, she is advocating the use of technology in not only the education of students with special needs but in their everyday functioning.
What I took from this video was not only an understanding of how technology can be used in a special education setting but how technology has increased the self-esteem and quality of life of some of these students.  I was struck with the vast difference in a child using a computer versus just pointing at letters on a chart. It magnified the fact that some nonverbal children are not impaired but simply inhibited by the lack of means to get their point across. I thought the teacher did a great job not only showcasing the new technology but letting the students themselves explain how it affects their lives.  If I had a special needs child in my classroom, I definitely use technology to better educate them. Depending on the nature of the need, for instance if a child had trouble seeing or reading, I could use tools that were shown in the video like having books downloaded to an ipod for children to read along with during Reading time.

How Ipad Works with Academics with Autism

I have seen first-hand how this technology can be used in a classroom with Autistic children when I did an observation at Woody's Song here in Mobile. Woody's Song is a day school specifically for children with autism.  The children there went from nonverbal to completely verbal.  The nonverbal students were using Ipads to communicate and complete their assignments.  It was an amazing sight to see.

If I had to pick an app to use for a special needs student in my classroom, it would be Proloquo2Go.  This application helps nonverbal children to speak by showing them symbols such as "I want" and then giving them options such as "snack" or "ball."  With the point of their finger, they are communicating and their choices are translated into a voice of their choice.  I could use this app in so many ways in my classroom, including interactive learning and reading.  The possibilities are endless with this application when it comes to enhancement of learning. For children (especially those with autism), learning can be frustrated and one-sided. With Proloquo2Go, kids can take control of their education and interact with teachers and other students like never before.

Social Media Count Response

There is no denying that the world around us is changing... and changing rapidly.  Watching the counts of posts on social media sites like Facebook and Youtube really puts that change into perspective. As a future educator, I do feel like I should keep up with the advancements in technology in my personal and professional life.  The younger generations of students take advantage of these changing technologies more than do the older generations and in some cases are more tech-savvy.  In order for my assignments and lessons to be relevant to these students, I must utilize the ever-changing medium of computer technology.  While staying up-to-date on the latest devices and trends can seem like a daunting task, I think that as a professional I should want to be at the top of my field. In order to be the best and most effective educator I can be for my students, I know that I will have to fully embrace technology including social media.  If this means taking continuing education classes or attending conferences on technology in the classroom throughout my career, then that is what I purpose to do.

A Vision of Students Today Response

In this video, an Cultural Anthropology class makes a statement about the relevance of traditional lecture-based learning as opposed to the lives they actually lead.  Students reveal things like, "I spend 100's of dollars on a textbook that I will never open," and "I will write 42 pages for class and 500 pages of emails."  The intention is to magnify the vast expanse between what is required of them in the college classroom and what is applicable to the "real world" outside of college.  For the university professors and  administrators, this video should make them take a long, hard look at the quality of students they are producing for a functioning society.  I have a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from UAB, but I find myself back in school to become an educator. I found that even though I had a degree, I had nothing to offer in terms of quality employment. College did not equip me with any real world skills. My tale is not an uncommon one. More and more college graduates are taking jobs they are overqualified for or cannot find a job at all.  I also found I had no real control over my education; in other words, I could not personalize my own education to fit me as a student and how I learned.  These are concerns that universities around this country should take up these concerns.  The administrators of universities should see this video as a challenge to make higher education more accessible to the student of the future.... a student who has never touched a piece of chalk.


  1. What about your comments on the peer editing assignment?

    "College did not equip me with any real world skills." How terrible! And how much did your degree cost?

    Well written. Thoughtful.

  2. Jessica,
    Your Blog was very well written. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on the special education video. I am actually getting my degree in Secondary Special Education. I had not heard of the application called Proloquo2Go. I am now very interested into looking into the program.